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1st timer looking for advice...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by JustaDad, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. JustaDad

    JustaDad New Egg

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    Hello. I am new to raising chickens and to this site. We got our first mixed flock last year and I learned a lot from forums on here, it seems as if everyone was a great help to each other so I figured I'd join and maybe help beginners with the mistakes I have made as well.
    On to my question...We are looking to expand our flock this year. I don't have any hens that will brood so I'm going to incubate. Does anyone have any thoughts or opinions on incubator types or brands? Reviews on retailer sites are all over the place. I'm looking to do at least 4 doz birds, maybe more. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    So you're wanting to do four dozen eggs at once? That would put you looking at larger tabletop models. What kind of budget do you have? I can recommend several incubators depending on what you want to spend.

    Another option is making your own, if you want to go that route.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  3. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think for someone who isn't planning on selling chicks or breeding birds spending the money on a 4 dozen egg incubator, assuming you want to hatch them at once does not add up in my opinion.
    I think it would be cheaper to buy sexed chicks from a hatchery and get some cool breeds, and possibly ones like Cochins, or Silkies that will go broody, rather then spending the money.

    I really like Brinsea, but they are spendy incubators.
     
  4. JustaDad

    JustaDad New Egg

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    Budget is not really and issue per say, but I don't want to spend $300 on one either as it would be counter productive for the reason I chose to raise chickens. Most of the units I looked at are around $100 give or take and are all similar to the Gracelove 48 Digital Egg Incubator Egg Hatcher with Automatic Egg Turning...I may want/need a larger unit, I don't know. My goal is to have around 50-60 birds in our flock. I'm considering hatch ratio and the ability to care for and maintain that many chicks before I move them to the coop as well. Maybe do two different hatches? Just looking for the best and easiest way to do that. Thanks!
     
  5. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    So, you want to stay under $300 and are more looking at $100? The only one I can recommend around the $100 mark would be a still air Hovabator, and even then I'd really recommend forced air as it's easier to work with. That would be $125. Still, you will need to do some babysitting to make sure all is well because it's still a Styrofoam incubator and those are in no way set and forget.

    As an upgrade and still staying below $300 an Incuview deluxe kit for $183 will be a step up and will do everything you need it to do.

    Personally I have Brinseas and love them but at the number of eggs you're looking at doing you're not going to get one under $300.

    The ones you are looking at are probably the cheap ones that really have mixed reviews because, well, you get mixed results. I personally would steer clear of them.

    Aside from all this, you could try to make your own or do as the poster above suggested and just order chicks, including some broody breeds, so that going forward the chickens could hatch for you.
     
  6. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Totally agree with everything you said. You get what you pay for.
     
  7. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And with some hatcheries they'll refund you for any chicks that are dead when arrival at the post office.
    If you're interested in ordering chicks I have used Murray McMurray everytime and they have been very helpful with me especially when I forget to add some chicks to my order and they put them in for me, or its finding breeds etc.
     
  8. JustaDad

    JustaDad New Egg

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    Brooding seems to be my issue. The original chicks I purchased early last year were supposed to be broody (I've read that the brooding tends to get bread out of them?) , but as it turned out, they were not. I also took in a mixed flock from a friend that was moving and one of the hens, according to him, would sit on anything and hatch. She sat for about 2 days then was done. My thought process was that I could just brood my own every spring for the amount of birds we would like to have instead of either A, buying birds every year or B, having the brooding issues as I am now and maybe only adding a few new birds to the flock each year. Again, maybe my though process is off as this is my 1st go around. For reference, I had 34 birds and 3 roosters until we had an unfortunate fox issue (which is now corrected) and that gave us just about the right amount of eggs and were fairly easy to maintain. I'm down to 16 now and only 1 rooster. I would like to jump up to the 50 range this year. Just looking for the easiest way to keep my flock up and replenish birds easily each year. Thanks again for the info!
     
  9. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would say order the birds from a hatchery this year. Save up money from eggs so that you can buy an incubator in 2018. The problem with incubating right away for a flock that you really want to build up is that for all you know you may set 50 eggs and only have 1 pullet and everything else is a cockerel. Also do you have a place you can keep a large amount of chicks, or what you are going to do with any extra cockerels and the older hens
     
  10. JustaDad

    JustaDad New Egg

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    I guess my set up might be helpful? Birds are free range on plenty of acreage but usually stay within 100 yards of the coop. As far as that it is concerned, it is an old green house attached to the barn that I do not use anymore for that purpose. It is appx 25' wide and 12' deep. I added 2 runs with appx 20 nesting boxes and several roosts as well. I put in a divider on one end with chicken wire (5x12) so I could introduce new birds to the flock (and brooding new chicks) with little to no aggression once they are all out at the same time. As far as I've been told, I can have appx one cockerel per 10-12 hens, not sure if this accurate but I had 3/34 all year and seemed fine. Older hens? Free pet for anyone who wants one or to the freezer, same for too many or extra cockerels.
     

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